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CBD Oil for Arthritis: Does it Work?

Dealing with the intense pain and discomfort caused by arthritis can be a horrible experience, particularly as the condition often worsens over time. 

Over the last decade, CBD oil has emerged as a popular, naturally-occurring treatment for an assortment of health conditions. As a result of CBD’s newfound popularity, many people have started to view it as a potential treatment for the immense pain caused by arthritis.

As such other potential uses, research into CBD oil’s potential benefits as an arthritis treatment is still in its early stages. However, some of the research that’s already been carried out, as well as research that’s currently underway, shows promising results.

Below, we’ve looked at the data for CBD oil as a treatment for arthritis. We’ve also looked at the potential benefits CBD oil could offer sufferers of arthritis, as well as how you can use CBD oil to treat pain, discomfort and other arthritis symptoms.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is an oil that’s extracted from the hemp plant. Its active ingredient is cannabidiol (CBD), a type of cannabinoid that can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. 

Although CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, it doesn’t cause you to feel high. Instead, it appears to offer a range of therapeutic effects, including pain relief, reductions in stress and, for many people, improvements in the quality of sleep. 

The “high” that many people associate with cannabis is instead caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a different cannabinoid. Mainstream CBD products have no THC, although some contain tiny trace amounts of THC that don’t lead to any psychoactive effects. 

Unlike THC, CBD oil and other products that contain CBD are completely legal to purchase and use in the UK. Outside the UK, laws regarding CBD can vary from country to country, making it important to carry out your own research if you plan to take CBD into another country. 

CBD Oil and Arthritis: The Data

CBD oil is linked to a range of potential health benefits, including relief from chronic pain and a variety of improvements in neurological and cognitive health. It’s also wisely seen as a potential alternative treatment for arthritis. 

Currently, research on CBD’s effects on the symptoms of arthritis is still in its early stages. With this said, some studies of CBD and arthritis have shown promising results. 

For example, a 2017 study found that CBD may be a useful treatment for managing the chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis. 

During the study, a treatment containing CBD was given to rats affected by osteoarthritis. Over the course of the study, the researchers discovered that the CBD product “prevented the later development of pain and nerve damage” in the joints of rats with osteoarthritis. 

As noted above, this isn’t a human study, so it’s impossible to fully apply its findings to people affected by arthritis. However, it’s a promising development that indicates that CBD could offer benefits for arthritis sufferers. 

CBD is also linked to improvements in general pain — a common issue that affects many people with arthritis. For example, a 2008 study found that treatments containing CBD may help people with chronic pain from conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and certain cancers.

Again, while it isn’t possible to directly apply this study’s findings to people affected by arthritis, CBD’s effects as a form of natural pain relief are certainly of interest to people with chronic pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

CBD oil is also associated with improvements in many secondary conditions that are commonly associated with arthritis. For example, a 2014 study found that CBD exhibited “anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects” in controlled tests. 

As the Arthritis Foundation points out, depression is extremely common among people affected by arthritis. People with arthritis tend to have higher rates of depression than the general public, with many failing to seek adequate mental health treatment. 

Like many other studies of CBD, this one draws its data from research carried out on animals, not on humans. Still, it’s an interesting finding that indicates the CBD could have real benefits not only as a direct treatment for arthritis, but also for many of its common symptoms.

Can CBD Oil Help to Treat Arthritis?

At this point, it just isn’t possible to authoritatively state that CBD oil is fully effective at treating arthritis. While the existing studies are promising, they tend to be small in scale, and many use data from animal research instead of research into CBD’s effects on humans.

However, many people with arthritis have reported anecdotal improvements in their symptoms after using CBD oil and other products containing CBD. Many doctors are also open to the use of CBD as a natural treatment for certain arthritis symptoms.

For example, in a guide published by the Arthritis Foundation, University of Michigan professor Daniel Clauw, MD. stated that he recommends CBD to some of his patients. He also provided several tips for using CBD responsibly to treat arthritis symptoms:

  • Use low doses of CBD, as these appear to be best for relieving pain.
  • Use a CBD-only product and start with a dose of five to 10mg twice daily.
  • Start by using CBD at night only, then slowly increase the dose if required.
  • Vape or consume CBD in tincture form first, as these forms of CBD exit your system quickly and won’t last for as long as edible CBD.
  • Be careful if you’re under 25, as this age group is the most likely to face dependency, addiction and other side effects from CBD use. 

Summary

While the data isn’t conclusive, studies show that CBD oil could be beneficial for treating the symptoms of arthritis. In particular, CBD appears to relieve some of the pain associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

CBD may also have certain antidepressant effects. This is important, as people affected by arthritis tend to be more likely to develop depression. 

Overall, while it shouldn’t be used in place of other medications, many doctors are open to allowing their patients to use CBD to treat arthritis. If you have arthritis, the best option is to speak with your doctor to learn more about your treatment options.